(Archive: June 26, 2002 - March 9, 2003)
Notes from Phyllis

Phyllis and Enniskerry Imp at Plantation Field.

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New:  Go to this page to read about
Phyllis, Grace and Patty's latest Ireland Adventure!

March 9, 2003

Snow for sale!

FOR SALE - Snow Drifts and Snow Piles. Bargain priced!
We still have available a sizeable inventory of large piles of snow and random snow drifts. They are of good dense consistency, many containing large quantities of ice. Excellent variety, some of which are very pure and white, others with a pleasant mix of mud and gravel. They are especially valuable and sought after, considering that the snow has pretty much melted everywhere else in the area except at Windchase! 
Discounts offered for those who buy in bulk. Buy one, get one free. In fact, buy one, get two free!   In fact, don't buy one, and you can still have two free!    Self service only. Pick up at your convenience. Terms available. Sorry, no deliveries. 

Until next time,

March 2, 2003
Last weekend I escaped from the snow and ice for a few days, and went to sunny Florida!   I attended a seminar for the USEA Instructor's Certification Program in Ocala.   So Sunday morning I got soaked, muddy and frozen taking water to the up the hill to the yearlings on the tractor in the middle of a freezing rain, and then headed off for the airport!
     I had expected it to be much warmer in Florida of course, but I didn't quite realize how warm!   The one time I had been to Ocala in the winter, it was fairly chilly, quite cold in the mornings, so I packed a number of sweaters, a raincoat and some long underwear.   What I hadn't anticipated was that late February is no longer winter in Florida, it is mid spring!   All the trees were leafed out, the flowers were blooming, and it got up to nearly 80 degrees!   I soon realized that what I should have packed was short sleeved shirts and sun block!
     The seminar was quite good, I think the ICP program the USEA is developing is an excellent one.   It was great to get a chance to learn from instructors like George Morris, Eric Horgan and Mark Phillips; I always come back from seminars like this with lots of new ideas and inspiration! 
     After three days in the sunny south, it was back home to the winter from hell.   I came back to a new 4 or 5 inches of snow, but at this point, we hardly notice the difference if it is less than a foot.   When I came to the barn I got into a lot of trouble with Jineen and Melissa as soon as they saw my tan!   But I gave them a hard time for not getting rid of the snow while I was gone, there seems to be just as much of it on the ground as there was two weeks ago!
     But my really exciting news is, I am back in the saddle again!   Its been a little over two months since my knee replacement surgery, and I started riding again on Friday.   Boy did it feel good to get on a horse again! (Don't tell my doctor, he probably wants me to wait another month!)   I am taking it slowly, I will gradually build up how much I do, but it was really nice to just ride again; this has probably been the longest time I have spent without being on a horse since I was three years old! 

Until next time,

February 18, 2003
It finally stopped snowing this afternoon, at 25 inches.   Let me tell you, taking care of 70 horses in 25 inches of snow is not easy!   It is nearly impossible to walk in the stuff, and exhausting to try!   I have spent most of the last two days on the tractor, taking feed and water to the horses that live in the far fields in run-in sheds, and trying to move enough snow to make it possible to turn out horses in paddocks.   Yesterday we got some of the horses out in several of the paddocks in shifts.   I guess the fence didn't look to high in a three foot snowdrift, so the mares all promptly jumped the fence out into the large pasture, and then refused to come back in! 
     We have moved a lot of snow the last two days, but have a lot more still to move.   The snow is so deep around the barns, that if it melts or rains as it is predicted to do later this week, the stables will flood.   So this means that all of the drainage areas around and between the barns have to be cleared of snow, and it has to be piled in huge mounds to get it out of the way.   With me on the tractor and Jineen and the working students wielding shovels, we made huge progress today, and we have several large white mountains of snow already.   But there is a whole lot more to be moved in the next few days, so Windchase Boarders beware, if you come out to ride your horse this week, you are likely to be handed a shovel! 

Mount Windchase!

     It has been a tough few days, with more to come, and we are all pretty exhausted.   But I must say, it is an adventure!   It is somehow kind of an exciting challenge, sort of us against the elements.   And at the end of the day, when all the horses have their nice clean stalls, have been fed and watered, and are cozily munching away on their hay, totally dependant on us for their well-being, it really does give you a special warm feeling of satisfaction.   Every once in a while, I feel like if it has to snow, then go ahead, lets get a really big one like this.   But about once every ten years is enough! 

Until next time,

February 16, 2003

     Eighteen inches and counting!   It started snowing yesterday, and now they say the storm is half over, it is supposed to keep going until Tuesday!   I am tired of winter and ready for spring, and snow always really increases the difficulty of the work around the barn; but I do have to admit that this storm is beautiful!   Windchase sits in a narrow valley between the Blue Ridge Mountain and Short Hill Mountain, so we generally seem to have our own little weather pattern here 'Between the Hills'; we get more snow than anywhere else in the surrounding area!   Right now, the valley is magically transformed into a winter wonderland.
     Much thanks to our good friend and neighbor Bruce Mountz, who has been doing a great job of keeping the driveway open with his snowplow.   This is fortunate, as we have to carry water to the yearlings up on the hill by truck; the cold weather has frozen the automatic heated water trough solid!   We have a good group of working students at the barn to care for the horses in this weather, so we are ready to deal with whatever this storm throws at us.   But it will be exciting to see what things look like by tomorrow morning, if it keeps up snowing at this rate all night!

Until next time,

February 5, 2003

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
                                      - John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 

In Memoriam
of the crew of Columbia Space Shuttle
February 1, 2003

Rick Husband, William McCool, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Ilan Ramon, Michael Anderson, David Brown

January 23, 2003
     It has been pretty quiet around here at Windchase lately, and COLD!!!   I think we all got quite spoiled last winter with it being so warm and mild; this winter certainly is different!   Oh well, at least I picked the right time of year to be laid up and not be able to ride; and don't think that was an accident!
     My knee is coming along well after my surgery; I am starting to be able to get around much better on it now.   I am rid of the crutches finally, and using just a cane.   I spend a good bit of my time in Physical Therapy, but I am able to go down to the stable and teach some lessons now, so at least I start to feel somewhat useful again!   I am really getting eager to be able to start riding again (which is at least a month away).   In fact, I have been having dreams about riding cross country at night!
     One of the high points of the last week was going to see the second movie of 'The Lord of the Rings', 'The Two Towers'.   If you haven't seen it, you should; but be sure to see 'The Fellowship of the Ring' first!   The second movie picks up right where the first one left off.   I have enjoyed the books for decades, and I was thrilled to see that the movies do them justice!
     Well, with not being able to ride, at least I have more time for things like watching movies and reading books!

Until next time,

January 1, 2003
Happy New Year!
     I haven't been doing much since I last wrote this column, still spending most of my time laying on the sofa!   I have to do the physical therapy exercised for my knee three times a day, and keep it propped up most of the rest of the time. 
     I actually did get down to the barn to say hi to the horses the other day, but they were all afraid of me, because of the crutches.   They snorted and blew and wouldn't come near me.   Oh well, I guess they don't miss me!   I am getting fairly bored, but mostly worried that Jineen and Melissa and everyone at the barn will realize that they don't need me after all!
     Actually, I don't mean to sound too sorry for myself, it isn't that bad.   I am trying to look at my lay-up as a little vacation, and I am really looking forward to getting back to the barn, and back on a horse, once my rehab is done with.   So I am looking at the new year with optimism. 
     I hope you all have a great 2003. Who knows what new adventures it will bring!

Until next time,

December 24, 2002
Merry Christmas!
      Well, I survived.   At least, so far. I had my knee replacement surgery last Tuesday, and I am still here to tell about it!   Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.   I got home from the hospital on Friday, and I am already bored with sitting around on the sofa with my leg propped up!   I guess I better get used to it, because I'll be laid up for a while; I won't be able to ride for several months.   Fortunately, I have a wonderful staff to keep everything going in the stable while I recuperate, and I know Jineen and Melissa will do a superb job with keeping up the training of all the horses while I am grounded! 

White Christmas at Windchase

     It is Christmas Eve, and it is snowing.   A White Christmas! In a way, I have always felt that white Christmases were overrated, as the snow makes more work for everyone around the barn, but I do have to say, it is beautiful!   Here's wishing you all a joyous Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season!
     Oh, and don't forget, trim your horse's tail on Christmas morning, to bring good luck for the new year!

Until next time,

December 12, 2002
Winter is definitely here!   We have been enjoying temperatures down to four degrees and eight inches of snow.   Then yesterday, we had an incredible ice storm.   The freezing rain started on Tuesday night and continued most of the day Wednesday, and it coated everything with about a half inch of ice.   This made it very difficult to walk outside at all, we were slipping and sliding all over the place.   But it was incredibly beautiful!   Once the rain stopped, it was like you were in a fairyland, with every twig and leaf coated in ice.   I took some amazing photographs!   By the end of the day, the evergreens were converted into Weeping Pines, with the weight of the ice bringing the boughs all the way to the ground.   The icicles that formed on the rooflines were formidable.   When the breeze blew, the crackling noise of the ice covered tree limbs rattling against each other in the otherwise quiet dusk was startling.   This morning, the sun came out, and Windchase was truly transformed into a winter wonderland.   Though it was melting down here in the valley, up on the mountainsides it was still frozen, and when the sun glistened on the ice covered trees, the whole mountain seemed made of crystal.   I consider Windchase one of the most beautiful spots in the world, and one of the best things about it is that every day the view is a little bit different!

    As some of you may know, I have been having a lot of trouble with my knee.   I have bad arthritis in it, and it has been getting worse for several years.   In the last year, it has gotten bad enough that it has severely affected my ability to ride, and competition has been very limited because of this.   Well, it is now time to do something about it.   I am going in to the hospital next week to have knee replacement surgery.   I am not looking forward to the prospect of this, as it will take about three months to rehabilitate after the surgery, but I am looking forward to going ahead and doing something positive to improve it, so that I can then get on with doing the things that I want to do!   I figured that if I have to miss riding for several months after having the surgery, then at least I might as well do it during the winter when the weather is bad anyway! 

Until next time,

December 1, 2002
If you have been trying to call or e-mail and have been unable to get through, then I apologize.   Our phone lines have been out of service since last Tuesday! 
     A crew working on laying some underground power lines along the road accidentally cut a main phone cable, and the phones went out all over our end of the valley.   Verizon seemed unable to comprehend that this was an area problem, and kept trying to insist that it must be a problem with our personal line, even though every phone on our road was off!   We have been unable to receive phone calls at either the stable or the house, and I have not been able to read or answer e-mail either.   We now finally have one line working here at the house, but the stable number is still out of order.   Very frustrating, and extremely inconvenient!   So if you have been trying to call, try again, and call the house number of you can't reach the stable.   Hopefully we will soon have this resolved totally!
     We had a really nice family Thanksgiving.   Most of my family got together here at the farm, where we enjoyed seeing each other and eating Mom's fabulous cooking.   We then traveled down to my sister Patty's house near Yorktown for a great party celebrating the marriage of her oldest son Jake.   We always have a wonderful time when the whole clan gets together, and this was no exception.   Everyone has now left to return home, and one of the puppies, the female named Piccolo, has accompanied my brother Buddy's family back to Texas. 

     The puppies are so big now I can hardly believe it.   They are as sweet and cute as ever, and very well behaved for the most part.   They do like to chew on things however, and the Mailman and UPS Delivery Man keep leaving them nice presents on the front porch.   It is quite a challenge sometimes to see if I can get to the mail and packages before the pups destroy them!   They are also getting to be quite fast now, and their mother Missy is teaching them to race!   Four of the original seven have now gone to their new homes, with the fifth one due to leave Tuesday, which will just leave Rascal and Travis, the two that we are going to keep.   I miss the ones that have gone, as raising this litter of pups has brought me and Mom so much joy.   But they have all gone to good friends and family, so we will be able to see them every so often!
     I can't believe it is December already!

Until next time,

November 11, 2002
Windchase riders had a great time at the Virginia Horse Trials to finish off the season!   This is always one of my favorite Events on the circuit, as Brian and Penny Ross do a superb job running the Horse Trials, and the Virginia Horse Park is second to none!   It was a magical weekend, with the autumn leaves in peak color, and the skies a clear and sunny blue.   The air was crisp, the footing was super, and the conditions were perfect!
     I rode my two Irish five-year-olds, Given Wings and Imperial Imp, and both went really well in the Training division.   Imperial Imp finished second in his division, he is extremely talented and fun to ride.   Both of these exceptional youngsters will be ready to move up to Preliminary in the spring!
     Melissa Hunsberger had a good ride in the Open Intermediate on Star Bright, to finish off a successful season with him.   Brooks Lyon moved her talented Ivanhoe up to Training level successfully, and Katie Willis had a great ride over a tough Preliminary course with Mirage.   It was also fun to watch Aric Bryant go well with Tenor Star, finishing fifth in Training Rider.   These two are forging a good partnership, and have a bright future together.   And congratulations to Petra Buc, who has had a successful Preliminary season on her Kentucky Courage.
As always at this time of year, I have enjoyed getting to go Eventing every weekend through the season, but at the same time I am ready for a break from the competition, and to get to spend more time at home on the farm.   I have not been able to do as much competing as I would like this autumn because my bum knee has been a hindrance, but I am tentatively planning to go ahead and have surgery during the off season to try to put it right.   In the meantime, I am enjoying hacking out in this glorious weather and working with the newer youngsters from Ireland.   They are a talented bunch, which bodes well for next year!

Until next time,

October 27, 2002
Great Meadows, near The Plains in Virginia, must be one of the most lovely places to hold a Horse Trials ever.   CDCTA held their event there on Saturday, and it was a successful competition for Windchase.
     I rode my two Irish five year olds in the Open Training, and both went super.   Imperial Imp, my new arrival from Ireland, went extremely well, placing fourth, with only a rail in the show jumping preventing him from winning.   Given Wings won his division, performing perfectly in all three phases.   He is a lovely horse to ride, and I think he is exceptionally talented.   But now that he has this win under his belt, he will be impossibly conceited and hard to live with, as he thinks quite a lot of himself already!   Both of these youngsters have a bright future ahead of them.
     Melissa Hunsberger also had a good day in the Preliminary, going clear cross-country with both her own youngster Expedience and with the talented Irish horse Dunraven.   Expedience finished seventh in a very competitive Open Preliminary division, and Dunraven is now qualified for a CCI*, having gone clear cross-country in all four of his Preliminary starts.   Melissa has done a grand job of bringing him up through the levels, and he will make an extremely competitive Eventer for whoever ends up with him, as he is talented and always trying to please.
     We are also having fun with the latest batch of New Zealand sale horses; they are really a fun bunch.   Saxony, the Taupo CCI* winner, is an incredible ride, he is spectacular at both dressage and jumping, he really has the right qualities to win at any level. 
     Otherwise, I am enjoying the lovely October scenery.  We all breath a little easier now that the snipers have been caught, and life is good!  The weather is beautiful, the leaves are at their peak of color, and it is a joy to hack out across the spectacular countryside at this time of year.

The puppies play soccer!

     The puppies are growing like weeds, they are now almost nine weeks old and really developing their personalities.   I spend a good bit of my time playing with them.   I am very attached to each of them, and wish that I could keep them all!   We still have one puppy available for adoption to a good home, so contact me if you are interested in having the best dog you have ever had!   Lurchers are the most loving and devoted pets, once you have had one, you will be hooked on them for life!

Until next time,

October 14, 2002
It was a wet and muddy weekend at Radnor, but a successful one for the Windchase riders!   Siobhain O'Connor from Canada on her Flying Advance and Pedro Gutierrez of Mexico with his New Zealand mare Secret Notion were both competing in the CCI** at the Radnor Three-day this past weekend, and they both put in super performances. 
     Heavy rains Wednesday and Thursday transformed the stabling area into a swamp and made for some very soggy dressage, but both Siobhain and Pedro rode really nice tests.   I arrived to the competition grounds Friday morning, and we swam our way around to inspect the Cross-country.   Due to the saturated ground and heavy going, the organizers decided reverse the order of things and run the Show Jumping on Saturday and the Cross-country test on Sunday.   This proved to be a good decision, as their was an all weather arena available in which to relocate the Show Jumping, and the footing on the Cross-country course had improved considerable by Sunday.   Siobhain had an excellent trip around the course, with just one glance off at a narrow fence, to successfully complete her first Two-star.   Pedro rode a beautiful clear round on Secret, putting her on track to do her first Three-star in the spring.   A great performance for both of them, and a good weekend for Team Windchase! 

Siobhain on Flying Advance and Pedro on Secret Notion negotiate the drop fence at Radnor.

     I would really like to congratulate the Radnor officials and organizing committee for doing such a sensational job making the courses safe and the footing suitable under such difficult circumstances.   The job they did is a credit to our sport!

Until next time,

October 3, 2002
As summer winds to an end, I am enjoying the slightly cooler weather, and enjoying the start of autumn, which is one of my favorite times of the year.   I am very privileged to live in such a beautiful spot; there is not a day that goes by when I don't ride around the farm here at Windchase and appreciate it's beauty, and reflect on how lucky I am. 
     One of the many things that I really love in the summer is watching the hummingbirds.   We have several hummingbird feeders in the yard, and they have been hanging about in droves this year.   In fact, they have been eating us out of house and home, we have to refill the feeders with sugar water every day!   In the evenings, you can sit and watch them flying about, fighting with each other over who gets to eat first; I love the humming noise their wings make, which gives them their name.

     I have been having fun taking the young horses out Eventing; Given Wings and Imperial Imp have both been going well.   After starting out the autumn season at Seneca Valley, Given wings (a.k.a. Flier), moved up to Training at Marlborough Horse Trials in Maryland.   Imperial Imp also made his Eventing debut there in the Novice.   This is an Event that I had not been to before, but it was a super competition; I will be sure to go back!
     Last weekend was Middleburg, and what a super competition.   The weather was perfect, and some much needed rain had made the footing as good as you could ask for.   I had a fun ride with Enniskerry Imp in the Open Intermediate, and his little brother Imperial Imp (better known in the stable as Impy 2!) was superb, he missed winning by a tenth of a point.   He will go Training at his next outing, and will move up the levels quickly.   He only arrived from Ireland a little over a month ago, but he has progressed quickly, and has what it takes to be a superstar!

     The puppies are unbelievable!   They are five weeks old now, and so cute you can't stand it.   They love to play in the yard now, and they get very unhappy if they are left in the pen.   They express their displeasure quite vocally!   When you turn them out to play, they romp and growl and wrestle, but they are still a little clumsy, and sometimes trip over their own feet.   They are very sweet and affectionate, but also quite mischievous.   I find myself spending a lot of my time playing with them, and it is fascinating, because they are growing and changing so fast that they are different every day!

Until next time,

September 14, 2002
Menfelt Horse Trials were last weekend.   I would like to commend the organization of Menfelt on the exceptional job they did with the footing on the cross-country course.   The ground has been hard, as we are lacking rain, but they had the turf in amazing shape, and the aerating they did on the course created nearly perfect going.   Siobhain had a good clear run in the Intermediate, so she is now fully qualified for Radnor CCI**.   Melissa took the talented Irish horse Dunraven in his first Preliminary, he was super, finishing eighth, he jumped like a dream.   Melissa also had a nice run with her five year old mare Expedience in the Preliminary.
     Melissa rode Dunraven again today at Seneca Valley, where he again went superbly, putting in a double clear to finish fourth.   This is a horse to watch for in the future.   Whoever ends up buying him will have no limitations!
     I had a lovely surprise the other day.   I received the most wonderful book from friends Sue and Chris Ryan in Ireland.   Chris is the MFH of the Scarteen foxhunt in County Limerick, a position that has been handed down through his family for generations.   Chris's father, Thady Ryan, has recently written an account of his experiences, called "My Privileged Life".   The Ryans kindly sent me a copy, and I have been enjoying reading it immensely.   It gives you a real sense of what living in the Irish countryside is all about, and an amazing insight into this wonderful family.   If you have any interest at all in horses, foxhunting or Ireland, you should read this book!

Missy's puppies

     Meanwhile, back at the farm, Missy's puppies are growing like weeds.   They have their eyes open now, and are walking around and starting to play.   They growl and wrestle and romp, it is so cute it is unbelievable.   And when Missy comes in to feed them, they go in to a feeding frenzy!   Poor Missy is a most tolerant mom, with seven fat puppies practically ravaging her to compete for the best nipple!   After they eat, they get very sleepy, and go through an elaborate yawning and stretching routine before they pass out and nap until the next feeding time.
     Oh, and by the way, how about those Redskins!   I have always been a football fan and a Redskins fan, but they have been a bit difficult to watch in recent years.   But I think this year will be fun!   It remains to be seen if new coach Steve Spurrier will make the team successful, but I'm betting that at least it won't be boring!

Until next time,

September 1, 2002
The new Irish horses are here, and they are just fabulous.   I picked them up from the quarantine at Newburgh last week, and they have settled in quite nicely.   They are turning out to be the most outstanding group of horses I have imported yet!   We have started riding them, and I am absolutely delighted with how they are going.   The two older ones are ready to start competing, and the two greener four year olds show exceptional talent.   It is going to be a treat working with them!
     The four new Eventers from New Zealand have also just arrived.   These horses all have experience at the CCI* and CIC* levels.   In fact, one of them won the Taupo CCI* in New Zealand this year!   So between the new Irish imports and the Kiwis that have just come, I have the nicest selection of really special horses for sale that I have ever had! (For more information, go to the 'Horses for Sale' page.)
     The autumn Event Season is under way.   The Loudoun Horse Trials were held this weekend, and thankfully we got some rain to soften up the hard footing.   I have delayed the start of my own competition season a few weeks because I have been having some trouble with my bum knee, but it was really fun to watch some of the Windchase students have a go.   Melissa Hunsberger had a terrific ride on my Star Bright in the Open Intermediate, to finish seventh.   Siobhain O'Connor also went well on her Flying Advance, except for a bobble at the coffin.   This pair was successful at Fair Hill a couple of weeks ago as well, and they are preparing for the CCI** at Radnor. 
     Last weekend, Melissa had a great go with the Irish import Dunraven in the Training division at Difficult Run.   This horse is jumping incredibly well, and will move up to Preliminary shortly.   Siobhain also had a fun and educational run there with her talented young horse Cool Man in the Novice, to start off his Eventing career.

     But here is the really exciting news.   We have puppies!   They are so cute I can hardly stand it!   Our lurcher Missy is the proud mother, and the father is a a lovely greyhound type lurcher named Flute.   On Monday, Missy produced seven darling puppies! 

Missy and her puppies

     Lurchers are fabulous dogs.   They are very popular in England and Ireland, but many people in this country have never heard of them.   They were originally bred by the Gypsies to poach game in the Royal Forests.   They vary in type quite a bit, as a lurcher is the result of crossing a sight hound with a working dog; but the classic lurcher type is the result of a greyhound or whippet crossed with a border collie.   They can come in a variety of sizes, colors and coat types, but all are very fast, and they are keen sighthounds.   They are terrific dogs, very loyal and affectionate.  
Missy is a wonderful mother, and her puppies are just adorable.   They are cute and plump and rolly polly, and their little pink feet are just to die for.   They all sleep in a pile, and they twitch in their sleep.   One will twitch, which will make the next one twitch, sort of a domino effect.   After watching them sleep and twitch a while, I can't resist petting them and waking them all up.   They yawn and stretch, and then blindly (their eyes and ears are still shut) sort of swim their way over to Missy to nurse.   They are growing fast, they seem rounder and bigger each day, and they are getting more mobile.   I get nothing done, because I spend all of my spare time watching the puppies.   In fact, that is why I am so overdue with this news update!

Until next time,

August 16, 2002
My new horses from Ireland arrive next week; I can hardly wait!   They will fly on a charter flight into Newburgh, New York, where they spend two days in quarantine, and I will pick them up hopefully next Wednesday, if all is on schedule.   I am really looking forward to starting to work with them, they are a really special group.
     You can see a sneak preview of them on the Horses for Sale page!

Until next time,

August 10, 2002
Finally, here it is: the full account of our latest Ireland Adventure.   It was a super vacation, and I would like to share with you some of the experiences we had.   Click here for the details of our Ireland trip, July 2002.
     I bought four awesome horses while we were there; I can hardly wait for them to arrive.   They should be here in about two weeks, I think they are the nicest bunch I have imported yet.   More details to follow soon!

Until next time,

August 3, 2002
Vacations are great!   I just returned from Ireland, where I spent a really super week with my mother Grace and my sister Patty.   Part horse shopping and part vacation, the trip couldn't have been more fun! 
     We looked at horses, explored castles, and drove down the small back roads of County Kerry.   We attended a lovely horse show, hunted for Chalices, and slept in a prison.   We trespassed, herded cattle, and climbed in stone forts built over twelve hundred years ago.   We encountered cross dogs, cross bulls and cross travelers.   And I decided what my next career will be!   Watch this space, I will have the full account of our adventures for you soon!
     Oh, and did somebody mention horses?   I found fantastic horses!   I bought four really special ones, some green and some with experience.   But I am going to keep you in suspense about the details a little bit longer, until the deals are completed.   But look for a full report next week!

Until next time,

July 19, 2002
It's been pretty quiet around Windchase the last few weeks, we have been enjoying having a less busy than usual month, now that Event season is over.   As usual for this time of year, it is hot and we need rain.   We try to get most of the riding done early and have off during the hottest part of the afternoon, as often as possible.   We have started training the two year olds, summer is a perfect time for that.  All the better if the weather is hot when we first get on them, we want them a little lethargic!  
     Here is the exciting part: I am heading back to Ireland!   I have sold most of the Irish horses that I had available for sale, so it is time to go get another batch.   I have quite a few lined up to see that sound as if they will be just what I am looking for!   It will be a lot of fun, because looking at horses is one of my favorite things to do.   It will be a combined business trip and vacation, and Mom and my sister Patty will be coming with me.   In addition to looking at horses, we plan to visit the Ring of Kerry, and of course hit the pubs and explore some castles.   We leave next week, I can hardly wait!

Until next time,

June 26, 2002
Windchase was host to the Jarman Family Reunion this past Saturday, and we had a fantastic party!   We invited all of my mother's siblings (The Jarmans), and their children and grandchildren.   We had about 60 family members altogether, some of whom we see fairly often and some who we haven't seen in years.   The last time we all got together at once was ten years ago at Ashlawn, when we had our last reunion; and we have been saying we need to have another one ever since.   Mom decided to go ahead and have one this year, and though the party idea started small, it just grew and grew!   The preparation  was a lot of work; Mom did all the cooking herself (with some help from the family).   The theme was to make everything as much as possible like it was when she was a kid growing up on the farm; she cooked the same type of food, and we played a lot of the games her family played back then.   We even had home-made ice cream!    
     Here is a picture of Mom's family when they were young.   Have you ever seen such a grim looking group?   Can you tell which one is my mother Grace?

The Jarman Family, around 1935.

     The working students had a little mounted equestrian competition as part of the entertainment; we called it a 'Horse Race', and betting was encouraged.   They completed a timed course, involving jumping the cross-country fences that are down by the lawn, as well as a few other tasks, such as racing around the lake with a flag, carrying a large beach ball while mounted, and jumping the water jump while carrying a glass of Champagne!   Aric Bryant won the competition on his new mount Tenor Star, and everybody had a few thrills.   On the whole, I think the party was a great success, and we really enjoyed getting to spend time with all of our relatives.
     Our last foal for the year was born Saturday night.   My friend Laura Gatewood has a really fabulous mare called Lucy, and we had an arrangement for me to use her for the year to produce a foal.   I have been eagerly awaiting this one, as I think the mare is really special, and I felt she would cross well with our stallion Windstar.   Was I ever right!   She had a lovely colt, he looks dark chestnut now, but has some while hairs on his eyelids, so he will be a gray.   We named him Starstruck, and as a stable name, we will call him Jarman, since he was born on the night of the reunion.   Jarman is really quite a pistol; by the time he was a day and a half old, he had already learned to kick, bite and run away from his mother! 

Lucy and Starstruck (a.k.a. Jarman)

Until next time,


For past news from Phyllis and the crew at Windchase, go to the
Windchase News Archives

Read about Phyllis, Grace and Patty's latest Ireland Adventure, July 2002.

Read about Phyllis and Jineen's latest trip to Ireland, December 2001.

Go to the Site Map to read accounts of some of Phyllis's other trips.

United We Stand


Phyllis Dawson
Phone: (540) 668-6024 stable
(540) 668-6548 home

(540) 668-7210 fax
Address: 36502 Kidwell Road
Purcellville, VA 20132